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tv   Newsline  LINKTV  March 4, 2014 5:00am-5:31am PST

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welcome to nhk world "newsline," i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. russian forces have tightened their hold on crimea, threatening ukrainian troops, and drawing more warnings from abroad. japanese engineers have developed a device to reduce the swaying of high rise buildings during strong earthquakes. and we speak with experts to learn more about the major issues being discussed at the
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upcoming national people's congress in beijing. soldiers from ukraine and russia are starting across -- are staring across at one another, wondering who will make the next move. they're arguing over who ought to control bases in ukraine's crimean peninsula. russian forces have reportedly issued an ultimatum, surrender or face an attack. ethnic russians make up a majority of the people in the autonomous republic. russian forces have been building up their numbers and pressing ukrainians to hand over military bases and other facilities. russia's interfax news agency quoted a source at ukraine's defense ministry. he said the commander of the black sea fleet issued an ultimatum to surrender. an official from the russian navy denied the report.
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oleksandr turchinov warned people in crimea not to react to provocations. the united states is hoping diplomacy and the threat of sanctions will help settle the crisis in crimea. u.s. president barack obama has referred to statements by nato and the group of seven industrialized country that strongly condemn russia. he says he'll continue diplomatic efforts but also suggested other options. >> if, in fact, they continue on the current trajectory that they're on, that we are examining a whole series of steps, economic, diplomatic, that will ice late russia. >> u.s. secretary of state john kerry and assistant secretary of state victoria nuland, will both visit the ukrainian capital of kiev on tuesday. the u.s. defense department says it is suspending military exchange programs with russia. such contacts are aimed at reducing the chance of an emergency resulting from a
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misunderstanding. the announcement came as russia's president vladimir putin paid a surprise visit to inspect military exercises, in russia's western districts. they include areas near the border with ukraine. it was putin's first inspection of troops since he gained approval from the upper house to deploy forces in ukraine. representatives at the united nations security council held their third emergency meeting in four days. russia's ambassador criticized ukraine's government for trying to persecute ethnic russians. >> translator: the rights and freedoms of people in ukraine are being threatened. we would like to emphasize once again that the actions of our military are appropriate and legitimate. >> the u.s. ambassador dismissed the claims. samantha power said there's no danger to ethnic russians. >> russian military action is not a human rights protection mission. it is a violation of
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international law, and a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the independent nation of ukraine. >> ukraine's envoy at the security council to do everything possible to stop what he called russian aggression. yuri serg yef joined others in calling for international monitors in his country. a team of japanese engineers has tested a system that is intended to reduce the swaying of skyscrapers during powerful earthquakes. it consists of a massive pendulum that would counteract any movement in a building caused by a quake. many buildings in tokyo and osaka shook slowly and widely during the 2011 earthquake. even though the epicenter was hundreds of kilometers away. the swaying stopped elevators and damaged walls and ceilings. engineers have been studying ways to reinforce high rise
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buildings against this long-period ground motion. they tested the new system that's being installed on the roof of a research facility near tokyo. the 300 pound pendulum moves in the opposite direction of a quake to reduce the swaying. the engineers moved the pendulum four meters, twice the force of the 2011 quake and confirmed that the system works properly. they plan to install six units on the rooftop of a 210 meter high building in tokyo. they say it will cut the width of swaying in half. >> translator: the merit of this system is that we can install it on a rooftop without affecting the inside of the building. we don't have to trouble or disturb our tenants. >> there are about 2,500 buildings taller than 60 meters throughout japan. only a number of them have been reinforced against long-period ground motion.
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politicians from across china are in beijing for the start of the national people's congress. the country's top leaders will begin on wednesday, laying out their plans for the year ahead. issues on the agenda include tackling corruption, the gap between rich and poor, and concerns about the environment. and through all of this week, china's economy, through all of this, rather, china's economy continues to grow. president xi jinping and his administration are expected to introduce more reforms with the goal of achieving long-term stability. all this week we're bringing you insight and analysis with our special series, "china: road to reform." nhk world's raja pradhan is leading our coverage. he joins us live from beijing. raja? >> hi, gene.
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this once a year meeting is so important here in china that people in this country categorize it as its own season, the political season. npc spokesperson spoke to reporters ahead of the opening session. she talked about president xi jinping's determination to tackle bureaucratic corruption. fu says there will be zero tolerance for corrupt officials and anyone found guilty must be harshly punished. fu dismissed worries that other nations have exposed about china's ongoing military buildup. she said china believes it can maintain peace by strength and that the chinese people can only be rest assured if they're the strong force defending their homeland and fu acknowledged environmental problems, saying pollution is a major challenge for china, and delegates at the upcoming npc. >> translator: this year we will start law enforcement on air pollution, prevention, and control. and we will revise it to provide legal guarantee in tackling smog.
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>> reporter: now, today, was actually a rare blue sky day here in beijing. but at this time last week, it was so hazy that the air quality was classified as hazardous to health. here's a look at how people in beijing are dealing with the problem. this is an all-too common scene in beijing. congestion on the roads causing congestion in the air. that's a far contrast from decades ago, when bicycles packed the streets. and now the government is encouraging citizens to embrace ways of the pass, rent-a-bike stations have popped up outside major subway stations. people in beijing are contributing to the environment little by little by sharing these bicycles. once you register you'll get a card which you place on the sensor, and you're ready to go. not only is it more
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environmentally friendly, it's also much easier to get around. even when traffic is severe. there are 520 rent-a-bike stations across the capital. and renting costs less than $2 a day. >> translator: bicycles are really eco-friendly. they're completely free of exhaust gas. >> reporter: many beijing residents are also wearing face masks to guard against dangerous pollutants known as pm-2.5. some masks are made especially for small children, who otherwise would be reluctant to wear them. people are also taking measures inside their homes. the best air purifiers cost about $500 to $800. in china that's about two month's salary for the average worker. >> translator: they're expensive, but what can we do? >> reporter: even china's president directly addressed the issue with the people.
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this is one of the residential compounds that xi jinping made a surprise visit to last month. he came here to talk to residents, and ask about their lifestyles. during his visit the president told residents he'll promote measures to tackle air pollution and asked for their understanding in the government's policies. >> translator: i was really glad he came to see us. i think he made the visit out of consideration for us citizens. >> and i also spoke to an expert on the pressing issue of pollution here in china. professor is an environmental scientist at peking university. she said it's important to link the fight against pollution to economic growth. >> our leaders have already many times that we have to keep up to
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use purely gdp to evaluate the importance we have to address the gdp and the resources used as ecological so this is gather to evaluate why china's economy developed or whether we are on the way to a sustainable future. >> so if you are going to name one critical strategy that the chinese government should face immediately, what would it be? >> that is whether china can successfully transfer for china's economy. whether the restructuring of the economy, and the changing of past can be successfully implemented. >> that's one expert's thoughts on china's environmental problems. now one other big issue at this year's npc is the government's crackdown on corruption.
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at the new conference of the people consulted a conference the spokesperson was asked about a member of the polite bureau standing committee, the country's most powerful decision making party. but sources close to the party say he came under investigation for corruption last october. the spokesman did not answer the question directly, but he did have this to say. >> translator: anyone who violates the law and party discipline will be investigated and dealt with severely. regardless of what their position is. that's all i can say. >> the xinhua are very clear about the government stance on corruption. i also spoke to an expert about this. he is a former translator of deng xiaoping and long-term observer of chinese politics.
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he says the probe against zho is a strong sign the communist party is feeling the strong pressure to go ahead with the anti-corruption campaign. >> the party and the government are dedicated to fighting corruption, not on a daily basis, but perpetually because if corruption remains unchallenged and unchecked, the party loses its raisin debt ra. it loses its reason for existence. >> he also points out it demands the participation of all chinese people and that the internet could become an important part of the drive. >> china has the largest mobile phone users and largest internet users, and people can actually exercise their own leadership in the way to expose corruption by various government and party officials. this reinforces this dynamics between the party on the one hand, the government on the
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other hand, but also more importantly, the people at large to create this kind of a united front against corruption. >> the environment and corruption are just two of the many issues npc delegates will need to tackle when the meeting convenes on wednesday. and be sure to join us for full coverage of the opening day of rage, "china: road to reform" at these times, right here on "newsline." trade officials in asia's northeastern region are working to make progress on creating a regional free trade pact. yuko fukushima has more from our business desk. >> yeah, gene, they're really hoping to make some progress this time because negotiations on other regional free trade pacts like the tpp seem to be moving forward. officials from japan, china and south korea are holding talks for a three-way free trade agreement. they have started the fourth round of negotiations in seoul, despite japan's strained relations with the other two nations. during the four-day talks,
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representatives of asia's three biggest economies will try to find common ground on how to eliminate tariffs. at the outset, japan's chief negotiators said a free trade pact would be an important engine for promoting an economic integration in asia. >> our three delegations should cooperate together and commit ourselves for the active negotiation, however difficult it would entail. >> trade officials will be split into working groups to discuss various issues. they include setting up rules for patent protection, and investment deregulation. they initially began the talks in march last year but so far they haven't reached any agreement. each country wants to maintain tariffs on certain products to protect its domestic industries. south korean officials are also showing interest in joining the transpacific partnership free trade talks. japan's minister in charge of the tpp says he welcomes south korea's participation in the
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negotiations, but he also said the country must be willing to aim for high levels of market liberalization. >> translator: if south korean officials have the will and resolve to abide by the high standards required by the tpp pact, i would welcome their joining the negotiations. >> preliminary working-level discussions on the tpp between japanese and south korean officials will take place in tokyo on thursday. now here's a look on the markets. european equities are bouncing back after sharp losses they suffered on monday. here's how benchmark indices are looking at this hour. london's ftse's up 1.5%, 6,812. the frankfurt the dax is also up almost 2% at 9,549. and paris the cac 40 is up 2.3%. investor concerns are somewhat easing after russian troops participating in the military
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exercises were reportedly called back to their bases. now earlier many asian bourses rebounded from monday's weaker performances. tok tokyo's nikkei advanced nearly half a percent on bargain buying. sydney snapped three sessions of declines by upbeat data on australia's housing market. but shanghai faced profit taking before china's national congress meets on wednesday. russia's latest moves are encouraging traders to sell what's seen as safer assets like the yen. the dollar/yen is currently changing hands at 101.84-88. little changed from levels in late tokyo trading hours. analysts say market players will be closely watching for economic data out of the u.s. later in the week, including a series of jobs reports. meanwhile the euro/yen is being quoted at 140.18-24. other news here in japan officials of the bank of japan say the amount of money in the financial market hit a record high in february.
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the central bank has been pu pumping cash into the market in a bid to pull the nation out of a long period of deflation. bank of japan officials said the monetary base at the end of february stood at more than 204 trillion yen or about $2 trillion. that's up about 2% from a month earlier. it has grown about 40% since last march. that was just before the central bank started implementing massive credit easing measures. the monetary base includes the amount of currency in circulation. plus deposits held by commercial banks at the boj. the officials say the monetary base will likely exceed around 2.7 trillion dollars by the end of this year. they're hoping this will encourage firms to take out more loans and expand their business operations. microsoft co-founder bill gates has regained the title of the richest man in the world for the first time in five years. that's according to "forbes" magazine. "forbes" says gates topped its annual list with a total net
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worth of $76 billion. mexican telecom entrepreneur carlos slim helu came in second. he had led the list for the past four years. facebook ceo mark zuckerberg surged to 21st place from 66th last year. and japan's softbank ceo was ranked 42nd. "forbes" says the united states had the largest number of billionaires followed by china and russia. the magazine also said 172 of the billionaires were women, up 34 from the previous year. and that's all for now in business. i'll leave you with the latest market figures.
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japan's foreign minister fumio kishida says monday's informal talks with korea were significant. diplomats from both nations met separately while attending a meeting between red cross officials. they talked for about two hours in the chinese city of shenyang. >> translator: i don't think we came to a point of immediately resuming intergovernment dialogue but it is significant to some extent that officials from the two countries exchanged their views for the first time in 16 months. >> kishida suggested that the government will explore opportunities for holding official dialogue on pending issues. they include the abduction of japanese nationals by north korean agents in the 1970s and '80s. and pyongyang's nuclear and
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missile programs. u.s. state department spokesperson jen psaki says the united states supports japan's efforts to resolve outstanding issues with north korea in a transparent manner. officials from the u.s., japan and south korea have been working together to coordinate their policy on the north's nuclear program. iranian leaders appear to be living up to their side of an agreement on their nuclear program. the head of the international atomic energy agency says they're reducing stockpiles of enriched uranium as planned. he addressed a meeting in vienna of the agency's board of governors. he was reporting on the status of an agreement last year between negotiators from iran and six world powers. the iranians agreed to curb their nuclear program in return for a limited easing of sanctions. the deal requires them to dilute some of their stockpile of enriched uranium to make it less suitable for nuclear weapons. amarah credited the iranians for taking a positive step forward
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but he urged them to clear up suspicions that scientists are pursuing research into nuclear weapons. iran's ambassador said amano's remarks sog iaea officials are satisfied with their efforts. it's going to be raining in tokyo on wednesday. our meteorologist robert speta has more on that. robert? >> yes, gene, what we are seeing is this low pressure system coming in from the west and not only rain showers, but even some snow in the higher elevations, and don't be surprised if you hear a rumble of thunder or two across the pacific coast of japan, going through the day here on wednesday. you is can see the low pressure area moving through. that's all the cloud cover. it really is going to bring foul weather for plane of you out here i would keep a umbrella handy throughout the day. off towards the north, snowfall in hokkaido on the entire elevations. you can see about 40 centimeters in a few areas out here. down towards the south like i mentioned there's that risk of thunderstorms. a few of these could bring some damaging winds, straightline winds that push ahead of thunderstorms and also waves
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about three to five meters high right near the immediate coastline. this says mountain snow, remember, in the canto area. that does not include tokyo or coastal areas down towards the south. we're talking about outside of the metro area into some of these higher elevations. you could see about 30 centimeters of snowfall. regardless that still could cause some problems for a few of you. this is definitely the system to watch going through midweek. by the end of the week a new storm will be developing behind it out of southeastern china bringing some more showers out there around the yangtze river basin. now towards the south, the tropics remain fairly quiet and northeast monsoon dominating much of the philippines, even over towards the indochina peninsula, partly cloudy skies for the most part. still watching our tropical storm out here, but those areas in the purple kind of pushing off towards the northeast. that's really just a nonfactor at this point. still kicking up the waves around marianneous islands. taipei, tokyo with a high of 11. over towards the americas, what's going on here?
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several systems one pushing away towards the east. the other one coming in from the west. and let's talk about this pacific northwest one where you are seeing some heavy rain showers following last week's flooding there in the southern california. well now all of it is off towards the north. and this is falling on some heavy snowfall that's already accumulated here so there is the risk of flash flooding. but more so, mountain passes if you're out on some of the roads there in to idaho over towards wyoming and montana, it definitely is going to be a slow go. freezing rain even mixed in with some of that snowfall out there. now back towards the east, you are still recovering from this very severe storm system that pushed through. i'll show you images coming out of washington, d.c. the whole city was basically shut down here on monday. a lot of the governmental offices were closed. but i really like this image, i wish i was actually here doing this. because it's a giant snowball fight at the national mall there in washington, d.c. so at least some people getting out, enjoying it, but as far as
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travelers, not very happy. 5,000 flights were cansinged because of this storm. let's take a look at your temperatures though. i do want to talk about the northwest out here because you're going to be seeing a gradual warming up of your temperatures. seattle getting up to about 13 here. portland around 14. staying right about normal even over towards sacramento, gradual warm-up. also on the eastern seaboard, too, looking at these temperatures getting warmer so some good news there for you. now, as far as europe is concerned, well, the western parts of europe, we have a high pressure dominating the iberian peninsula. that's going to bring some fair weather throughout the rest of the week down towards italy, low pressure system is moving through here. and it's just a big storm system. there are thunderstorm advisories in effect in parts of italy, and then into the alpine regions. about 5 to 10 centimeters of snowfall. so a little bit of a messy weather accumulating up here for you there in rome and athens, some of those rain showers on your tuesday. here's the extended forecast.
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that's "newsline" for this hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo.
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>> [. here are the headlines. the takeover of power. >> russian pleasant of blood reboot and crawling the crisis in ukraine and who -- russian president vladimir putin called the crisis in ukraine a coup. and israeli prime minister benjaminet


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